A brutish bull of a man stood in front of me as I waited to board the plane. His thick neck stood perpendicular to a proportional barrel chest. Although his gray streaked hair testified to many miles, I could feel his strength..
Cradled in his Popeye-sized arms was a young girl. Her gentle curls and cherub face oozed gentleness and feeling safe. She was enjoying a game that brought a smile to those around her. On her finger was a small piece of loosely twisted clear sticky tape. She was wonderfully taking glee at leaving it on Dad. With an innocent give and take, she put and removed it from his fingers, arms, nose, cheeks, and in a bold move that caught everyone off guard, his lips.
With each placement, his mood swung from happiness to an intense scowl. It was hard to tell if he was serious or playing. Her response did not help clarify the situation. Swinging from wonderful glee to cowering fear, she responded with the next move. My lingering memory of their loving interaction reminds me of David’s observation. “He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken.” (Psalm 34.20)
I have no doubts that he would willingly give his life to protect her. She is the apple of his eye, always having a place in the center of his heart no matter what happens. I also know that in the setting of his love, she will not always see the truth. She will experience overwhelming fear and pain.
I wish I could leave her a reminder to read when darkness tries to dominate in the future. If I could, my note would read something like the following. “Do not let fear and pain win the day. Do what you did when you were three. Reach out to your Father; make the next move. If you do, you will discover that your Father is doing exactly what he has always been doing – carrying you in his arms, offering you safe haven, willing to die so that you can live.”